Rick Stotler has only owned a recreational vehicle for six months, and he’s already hooked.
“I fell in love with ‘RVing’ really fast,” says the Penn Hills, Pa., resident.
As reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the retired truck driver, who is single, had been contemplating buying a home in Florida. “But I’ve always been intrigued with staying mobile and being able to visit many locations,” he says. “That draw of going any place at any given time was more powerful than the draw of a home.”
Stotler, 63, is the proud owner of what he calls an entry-level RV that he purchased for $17,000, allowing him to sample this new world. He tows the 18-foot home on wheels with his pickup. It also has a built-in garage for carrying motorcycles, ATVs and sports equipment.
“I’m more into exploration of this country, rather than sitting and staring. I can set up home anywhere on the road,” Stotler says.
He’s preparing for a road trip to the Florida Keys with his traveling companion, his rescue dog, Bleu. “RVing fits my lifestyle perfectly,” he says.
Stotler is far from alone.
The industry was hit hard by the economic downturn in late 2008, in which 55% of its workforce was laid off. But the market is now growing at a pace that the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) describes as “torrid,” the biggest resurgence in sales since the early 1990s with a double-digit growth in the past three years.
While Baby Boomers with disposable income entering retirement is a factor in that growth, RV ownership is highest in households between the ages of 35 and 54, “and we’ve seen growth in the under-35 age group,” says association spokesman Kevin Broom, who describes the list of amenities in today’s RVs as “exhaustive.”
“The new towable units are selling faster than we can get them replaced from the factory,” says Scott Murray, RV manager at Butler RV Center, Butler Township. He says buying an RV can be inexpensive, with payments as low as $125 per month.
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